Friday, October 8, 2010

Hopelessly Hopeful

My apologies for the delay in entries (to those few who are reading ;) )—I have been without Internet at my humble abode for the majority of the week.

Dealing with students in crisis can make you feel completely hopeless at your job. Earlier this week, I was called by administration because a first grader had said he wanted to hurt himself. This student, XX, is in special education and has a history of behavior problems, particularly inattention and noncompliance. While a lot of his problems come from wanting peer and adult attention, he also completely lacks self-control over his actions. He also may have underlying mental health issues that haven’t been discovered yet. I’ve been working with XX’s teacher all year regarding his behavior, and the Committee of Special Education (CSE) is also going to meet soon to reevaluate his needs.

During a threat assessment with a social worker in our building, XX was out of his seat, destroying the room, running from the room (I had to block the door and got barreled down a few times when he would try to escape), and crying/screaming. XX repeatedly said that he wanted to hurt himself because it was “funny” and that he would run out of the building and get hit by a car. While we didn’t feel XX had the true means and intent to harm himself (though when I got him from his class, he was slamming himself in the bathroom door, to the delight of his peers…argh), we were concerned about his well-being and feared that he would truly leave the school building. As such, administration called his mom and he went home.

Through this whole ordeal, I felt like I had no grip on the situation. How do you deal with a student who is so unfocused and defiant that you can get nothing done? How do you handle students like this when their behavior is the same, day in and day out? How can I give teachers suggestions on how to handle students like XX when I can’t handle him myself one-on-one, and am not a classroom teacher myself, despite whatever behavioral training I have? Hopefully I’ll be closer to answering these questions as the year goes on and I gain experience, because it is no fun dealing with a 6-year old who can’t deal.

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